by Michael Paul Gonzalez
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Angel Falls / B003CV7RV4
Lucifer, the Light-Bringer, isn't a bad guy. Sure, he was hurled out of heaven and down to earth, but to his way of looking at it, his situation is just the infinite equivalent of when your mates lock you out of the apartment as a prank. He'll be let back in...eventually. In the meantime, it's up to him to manage the afterlife, and to take care of those souls not pure enough to enter heaven without passing 'Go'. Sure, he *could* slave day and night to provide a constant supply of brimstone and torment, but why bother with all that fuss when you can turn the Bitter Cliffs of Eternal Sorrow into the Bunny Slopes of Valhalla and enjoy the ambiance of a classy ski resort? If only things could stay at this relaxed pace, Lucifer would be happy, but he wasn't expecting to be pulled back into active duty in order to stop a trust fund heiress from cheating her way into heaven and plunging the entire afterlife into turmoil.
This excerpt contains some of the most original, wry, gut-busting humor I've ever seen. I could not agree more with the Editorial Review that harkens this to the masterpieces of Douglas Adams - this supreme Fantasy Kitchen Sink combines all the delight and charm of Judeo-Christian canon with a modern setting and a compelling protagonist who manages to be equal parts amazingly competent, charmingly devil-may-care (perhaps literally), deliciously self-centered, and with a touch of vulnerability that isn't-quite-obscured by bluster and braggadocio.
Besides the delightful characterization, "Angel Falls" contains some of the best afterlife world building I have ever seen - the author has perfectly grasped all the implications with a "sit on your hands and wait" afterlife, and details all this with a hundred little nuances that suck the reader into the world instantly. Add a compelling plot, an antagonist that promises to be just as delightfully selfish as our self-absorbed Lucifer, and a comedic tone that is perfectly balanced, and you'll see why the comparison to Adams is so apt.
NOTE: This review is based on a sample excerpt of this book provided through the ABNA contest.
~ Ana Mardoll
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UPDATE: The author of "Angel Falls", Michael Paul Gonzalez, has kindly agreed to be interviewed here.